tv PBS News Hour PBS October 30, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: tensions rise in jerusalem. as israel lifts the controversial closure of a holy site and fresh violence between israelis and palestinians holds the threat of more yet to come. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this thursday, in alaska's senate race, authenticity reigns supreme for voters wary of outsider interests. >> some degree that's true of the oil industry, about the authenticity of the people who >> ifill: plus, solar flares and lava flows the hot spots on earth and in outer-space. those are some of the stories
we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: the u.s. economy has turned in another solid quarter. growth from july through september ran at an annual rate of 3.5%. that follows an even stronger second quarter, and falling gas prices are expected to help keep the trend going through the rest of the year. we'll look at how the economy is affecting the mid-term elections, later in the program. that upbeat growth report pushed stocks higher on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average gained 221 points to close 17,195; the nasdaq rose nearly 17 points to close at 4,566; and the s&p added 12 points to close at 1,994. >> ifill: a nurse from maine who's returned from west africa's ebola zone, defied a voluntary quarantine today. kaci hickox took a bike ride with her boyfriend in fort kent, maine. she'd returned there monday
after spending three days in forced isolation in new jersey. she's said she's free of symptoms. maine officials are pursuing a court order to keep hickox at home until the incubation period for the virus ends. >> ifill: there are new warnings about the ebola outbreak in sierra leone. the new head of the country's response center said today the crisis is getting worse and that efforts to fight the disease are three months behind. that's one day after officials reported the rate of infection in neighboring liberia appears to be slowing. >> woodruff: a different crisis gripped another west african nation today. the president of burkina faso, who's ruled for 27 years, declared an emergency after protesters stormed parliament. they set the building on fire and from there thousands moved on to attack the homes of government ministers. the president declared a state of emergency and dropped out of sight. >> ifill: fighting has flared again in ukraine despite a cease-fire. the country's military says
seven of its soldiers were killed in the last 24 hours, in the eastern part of the country. that's the most in two weeks. government troops and pro- russian rebels have clashed repeatedly since september fifth, when the truce was signed. >> woodruff: back in this country, the education department announced a new rule governing for-profit colleges whose students can't find jobs that let them pay off their federal loans. they'll have to show that a graduate's estimated annual loan payment does not exceed 8% of total earnings. the effort targets "career schools" that soak up tuition ai but provide little useful training. >> woodruff: the mayor who led boston through the boston marathon bombings, thomas menino, died today after battling cancer. menino was hailed for uniting the city after the bomb attack killed three people and wounded more than 260 in april. >> there's going to be a lot of
help needed for them. because that's what boston is all about. we're one city committed to making a better city in order for people to not to forget as you go further down the road. >> woodruff: menino retired earlier this year, after serving five terms as mayor. he was 71-years-old. >> ifill: the acclaimed poet galway kinnell was remembered today for his long award-winning career. he died tuesday of leukemia at 87. kinnell first gained notice in the early 1960's and continued publishing for decades. along the way he won a pulitzer prize and a national book award for such works as "body rags" and "mortal acts, mortal words." >> woodruff: and the san francisco giants retuned home early today after winning the world series for the third time in five years. fans greeted the team bus when rolled into at&t park before dawn and the club's c.e.o. took the trophy for a victory lap. hours earlier, the giants beat
the kansas city royals in game seven, three to two. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour. tensions in jerusalem rise after israeli police shoot a palestinian man. the tight senate race in the last frontier: alaska. the impact a slow economic recovery may have on the midterm elections. an update on the ebola crisis in liberia. apple c.e.o. tim cook comes out. the science of sun spots and lava flows. and, the playwrite behind the pulitzer prize winning drama about identity and islam. >> woodruff: it's one of the holiest sites to the world's three major religions. known to jews and christians as the temple mount, it's also home to the al-aqsa mosque, one of the most sacred in islam. now it has become ground zero
for another round of fighting between palestinians and israeli security forces. they were triggered when israeli police cornered and killed a palestinian man. he was suspected of seriously wounding a far-right jewish activist who had demanded greater access to the place jews call the temple mount, and muslims know as al aqsa. admist the trouble, the israelis closed the site for the first time since 2000. that brought condemnation from palestinian president mahmoud abbas. through an aide, he charged the closure was "tantamount to a declaration of war." >> ( translated ): we condemn and refuse the israeli escalation in jerusalem and over the holy shrines. we will take all legal measures to hold israel accountable and to stop these repeated attacks, because the continuation of
israeli aggression and dangerous escalation will cause more violence. >> woodruff: hours later, israel announced it will re-open the site to worshippers. but israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu blamed abbas for starting the trouble, with a recent call to ban jews from the compound. >> ( translated ): i still have not heard from the international community so much as one word of condemnation for this incitement. the international community needs to stop its hypocrisy and take action against inciters, against those who try to change the status quo. i have ordered significant reinforcements, including reinforcement of resources, so that we can maintain both security in jerusalem and the status quo in the holy places. >> woodruff: all of this comes as tensions are still running high over the summer war in gaza between israel and hamas militants.
israel has also announced plans for more settlement-building in east jerusalem, a move that's inflamed palestinians and been denounced by u.s. officials. >> woodruff: for more on these tensions and what's behind them i'm joined by hussein ibish of the american task force on palestine. and, david makovsky, from the washington institute, he was part of secratery of state john kerry's negotiating team in the most recent talks. welcome back to the program. to both of you. david makovsky, first, how significant are these tensions we're watching? >> look, you know, this is a conflict the israelis-palestinian conflict that doesn't lack for emotion and passion, and jerusalem, on top of it, has even more doses than anything else. so we've seen episode where things have flared and then things have kind of quieted down. so it's hard to know for sure. but i think we need to make sure that cool heads prevail here because we don't want this conflict that's a political conflict-- israeli-palestinian--
to be transformed into a muslim-jewish religious war. because political conflicts you can solve. but religious wars you can't. >> woodruff: how concerned are you? >> i think it's very dangerous. i think we're closer to seeing a-- the process of the development of another intifada than we have been since 2005. it was 10 years ago when the second intfahda petered out. i don't think it's upon us and i don't think it's likely to be produced in the next few days but i think you can see the elements coming together, particularly cluttered around east jerusalem with the question of the settlements and the question of holy places you you have the exact nexus of issues and the place consider that kind of explosion or implosion could come about. >> woodruff: you mentionedly the settlements. david makovsky, these new settlements, the new construction, how much of a
sticking point, how much of an irritant is that? >> i agree with hussain, when you have a vacuum-- we were led by secretary kerry's initiative. people thought okay there was an effort to try to solve this, but when there's no effort, when there's a vacuum, all sort of things bubble up, and i think that capacker base the concerns. >> woodruff: you mean the fact that the talks collapsed last spring. >> exactly. look, these neighborhoods in jerusalem, i mean, i don't want to bore people with all the technicalities, but there's a six phases of planning. so this is recycled news from 2010. and there's going to be another four more of these announcements probably over the next few years over the same few apartment buildings. the problem is this-- netanyahu will say in these particular neighborhoods, areas that even palestinian maps, not all of them, by the way, but some of them will be israel anyway. but when you don't say the
corollary of, well, i won't build in the other areas that will be palestine, people assume the worst. if you don't drawlet distinction, they won't draw the distinction. so i think there's a need to do both side of this. you're going to build there saying that's going to be israel anyway in a two-state peace map, then you have to say where you're not going to build. >> woodruff: is it just a matter of how it's talked about i don't think so. >> i certainly agree the settlements have not been built, and there is a multistraij planning process so you pay the cost politically many times over each time it's announced. but it is not a conscious area. it's one of the new settlements announced and that's the one that's probably the biggest single irritant between the united states and israel and the international community and israel. but all of these send a message to the palestinians and the other arabs that israel intends to keep hold of jerusalem, that israel doesn't want to compromise on jerusalem because
if you really did want a two-state solution, why keep digging the hole deeper? why keep expanding the number of settlers and the areas that are settled, especially in strategic areas that cut off jerusalem from the rest of the west bank? that's a question i've never had a good answer to. >> woodruff: is there a calming influence out there that could make a difference in getting things to cool down, david makovsky? >> i think that's a great question. i think what's key is, you know, netanyahu said status quo. he's really, i think, coming out against the people who want to go on the temple mount and ready it's the security chiefs who say, "hey, this is a powder keg, people." and each one has good arguments. will say, you know, this is the holiest site is the two-- solomon's temple and the ruins of the mosque of the temples is where the mosque is. history has-- when the area became oofs taken by israel in 1967, moshe diane, who was the
winning general said, you know, what, jordanian religious authorities, you administered this before the war. you administer it now. israel's not doing it. and the rabbenet, said don't go up to there, not because it's not holy, because it's too holy. wait for the messiah. but what happened is this new insurgent group says he now can historically delineate through archaeology where it is, and that's upsetting the status quo. the message of the security services, keep the status quo. make sure this powder keg doesn't go off. >> woodruff: how do you see this? >> i think there are important calming elements here that could be-- certainly the united states and the rest of the international community can help with incentives and disincentives to the parties to calm things down. we can play a significant role in encouraging the parties to do that. in addition, i think the public sentiment-- >> woodruff: even with the talks stopped? >> yes, even with the-- yes,
because there are still bilateral relations, and certainly we did have this interesting take by jeffrey goldberg this week about how there's a deterioration. he discussed white-hot anger against israel and netanyahu's contempt, as he put it, for the administration. but that doesn't matter. there are still bilateral relations and also bilateral relations with the palestinians which could be utilizeed to calm things down. i think the public, especially if it's given reasons to hope and reasons to choose to calm down, can be helpful on both sides, and particularly the palestinian public has shown a reticence to get stucked into another intifada. this summer, during the gaza war, there was a major incident at a checkpoint near a refugee camp, during a very holy night during ramadan, and the public backed off and didn't go for it. if the public can be given reasons to hope for something better tomorrow, i don't think
they're going to be interested in going down this road. this would be pure last-ditch desperation and anger. >> woodruff: hussein ibish, david makovsky, we thank you. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> ifill: we are now five days from the midterm election and the fate of the u.s. senate is in the hands of a few key states with toss-up races. among them is alaska, with a senate race that touches on the state's history and identity. as part of our project with public broadcasters across the country, liz ruskin of alaska public media takes us to the last frontier. >> reporter: this vast state is the setting for one of the most competitive ?eet races this year, a race about the identity of this place and which man best represents its future. >> between now and election day, i will work every single hour. >> reporter: the incumbent is democrat mark beggism, former mayor of anchorage.
his father served in congress but died when mark was 10. nick begitch was running for his second term in 1972 when his plane disappeared over the alaska wilderness. now his son is running hard for his second term. >> more than any other-- >> everybody-- everybody knows this is it, right here. the control of the u.s. senate. >> you bet. >> reporter: challenger dan sullivan was raise raised in sun cleveland. in law school, he fell in love within an alaskan and moved to her home state. he's eye former state attorney general and a current reservist officer in the marines. this is his first run for elected office. >> people want to know you're here for legitimate purposes. >> reporter: michael carrie has written about state politics for decades. he says successful candidates here must prove they belong in alaska. >> alaska has a long history of being ruled by outsiders-- some
parts it's been the federal government. after all, we were a territory. so there's also bane question, and to some degree, that's true now with the oil industry, about the authenticity of the people who are here and whose interests they are serving. are they really alaskans or are they just here to get the money and lead? >> there's a third character in this race, barack obama, the president is extremely unpopular in alaska. the sullivan camp is working hard to make sure alaskans see begich, and obama as teammates. amanda coyne covers alaska politics on a web site carrying her name. she says obama is an effective foil because he represents unwelcome, outside power. >> you know, we're talking about obama here, but i think that really we have to talk about the democratic party as a whole. if you're relying on oil, as we are in alaska, it can appear the democrats are your enemy. they are distrustful of oil companies. they are distrustful of resource
extraction. >> we do independent research -- >> reporter: meanwhile, alaskans are being hit with an avalanche of political communication on a scale they've never seen before. >> it's so annoying. not to mention phone calls and internet ads -- >> reporter: the size of the bombardment reflects the state of the race. >> literally, control of the u.s. senate is at stake. and, again, i think we can start moving our country in a positive direction in contrast to where it's gone under harry reid, barack obama, and mark begged ich. >> reporter: that kind of anti-washington talk is at the core of sullivan's campaign. he says he'd be more effective than begich rolling back federal limits on oil production. >> it's not only opportunities for alaskans and our future. it's opportunities for americanto have more access for lands. >> reporter: for two months, sulvoon has held a nasho lead in
the race. as a result, begged ich is in overdrive and some polls suggest he may be closing the gap. he stresses he has gotten results from alaskans and keeping his difference from obama. >> this is about alaska. this is about the next six years. >> reporter: to beat sullivan, begich ?eedz a strong turnout operation. supporters like these union workers could be essential for that effort. >> fight for what's important for alaska. sometimes i disagree with the president on guns, on oil and gas osome other issues he's broughted for. i push back on them. i'll fight for what's important for alaska. my record shows it, and i'm proud of the things we've been able to do. >> reporter: the area of land owned by the federal government here is larger than the entire state of texas. that gives washington a big role to play in how alaska uses its resources, and this senate race is in part a debate over the merits and limits of federal
power. republican political consultant art hackney, who launch aid super pac to support sullivan, says alaskans appreciate federal funds but not washington's control. >> in alaska, federal overreach it is a bad word. the stories are legion that the stupidity of federal regulations and how they impact day-to-day lives in alaska. so federal over-reach impacts just about everything-- resource development, recreation. it's-- it's a very salient point in how people decide what they do and don't like about government. >> november 4 is election day but we're asking people to vote early. >> reporter: you hear other views from alaska's large native population, which just gathered for a convention in anchorage. alaska natives comprise evenly% of the population, and those who identify as tribal members often see the federal government as an ally. >> our society needs a strong
federal government for many reasons, but when it comes to relations with indigenous peoples, the federal government has always had a special relationship. it, by law, has an obligation to respect treaties and to protect and preserve a way of life. dan sullivan doesn't get that. >> reporter: alaskans are already casting ballots, thanks to elderly, in-person voting. the decision may be a national cliff hanger. alaska is notorious for close elections that take days to fully count. if control of the senate does rest on alaska, the country could very well have its eyes on this race long after election day has passed. liz ruskin, alaska public media. >> ifill: as we reported
earlier, the u.s. economy appears to be on the unpswing, consumer confidence and growth up, the jobless rate down. voter should be embracing the optimism, right? not so much. and that might mean bad news for democrats this coming tuesday night. newshour political director domenico montanaro joins me to explain why. voters this year? >> it's always at the top of the list for voters. we've seen in the recent ap poll, 91% of people said it was an important issue we find voters and their confidence of what happens based on the economy. behindain what is some of these more positive signs in a lot of these economic indicators. >> ifill: we just heard the report from alaska. which states where there are big elections going on are affected the most by the economy? >> we know there are 28 states in the country where the national unemployment-- where the state unemployment rate is actually higher than the
national rate, and that's pretty fascinating because of those, there are nine of the 17 most competitive senate race that-- where the unemployment rate is higher than the national average. and that can cut both ways. we know that nationally, about two-third of people say that the country is headed off on the the wrong track. only about 38% said in a cnn poll that they thought that the economy was doing well. and you had another high percentage of people saying that they really feel like the country, being off on the wrong track, not doing very well, and that it would impact democrats potentially for the midterms this time around because of the national mood. but it can cut both ways because when we talk about some of the specific races, georgia, in particular, 7.9% unemployment rate, the highest in the country of anywhere, and you have a republican candidate there who is really struggled air, former c.e.o., to talk about his jobs message. >> ifill: what if you're in a
state-- when i was in colorado, they actually have better than the national average unemployment rate, and yet the democratic incumbent is still struggling. >> colorado, iowa, a lot of those places. but it's not always just about the economy. i think that's part of the problem. a lot of times we look at the economy, we look at these numbers and we want to think, yeah, that's going to mean this or it's going to absolutely impact democrats. a lot of times, senators don't get the kind of credit for the economy, a lot of times governors more so are held to account for this. for example, in illinois, you're seeing governor quinn, the democrat there, struggling in the polls. governor malloy in connecticut, a few democrats who really shouldn't be doing badly really having a difficult reelection. >> ifill: how much of this is about the perception of the way people feel about the economy and the candidates themselves who maybe aren't articulating the message voters want to hear? >> i think that's a big part of it. a lot of times if you're feeling like the country is not doing well or the economy is not doing well, then it winds up being
something that does translate. but there's a whole lot of other issues that people do care about in these states and in these elections. we've been seeing in these pieces, so often these elections have come dune to what republicans are trying to do it nationalize the election and make it about president obama, and the national political environment. and democrats trying to localize, like in colorado and north carolina and iowa. >> ifill: remember in 19 not "it's the economy, stupid" became the mantra and it turns out the economy was recovering at the time but george h.w. bush still took the hit. >> the economy was starting to recover. but the problem as we said earlier a lot of times people kind of lag behind some of these numbers and it's not always the case that the economy is definitely what's the biggest indicator. >> ifill: that's one of the many trends we'll be watching tuesday night with you d see you then. >> woodruff: next, a closer look
at the growing human toll ebola is taking on the communities of west africa the epicenter of the current outbreak. we have two updates from "new york times" reporters working in the region the first is from ben solomon who filed this video report from inside an ebola treatment center. in the countryside east of the liberian capital of monrovia. >> what i see in the faces of the patients? fear. fear of the unknown. right beside them, friends die. it's so, so frightening. is this how i'm going to end up, too? my job is to help them to see
do it without touching but there are other things we can do, offer hope, make them feel more confidence that they can come in here and walk out. at the moment, we are discharging patients who proved negative, so we had to discharge her out. what gives me the most, most hope, people come in here so frustrated and sick, and after, they walk out of here. it makes me feel that i'm able to do something. it makes me happy. it makes me feel fulfilled. >> woodruff: that report prepared by reporter ben solomon. sheri fink has also been reporting from liberia for the
"new york times," and she's also a medical doctor. i spoke with her a short while ago over skype from monrovia. sheri fink, welcome. you have been writing some very moving stories recently, the overwhelming tragedy, but also some very tough decisions that the doctors have to make. talk about that. >> reporter: yeah, one of the doctors here named steven hatch, he speaks of it as solomonic decisions, and really, every day brings some of these tough choices. ebola treatment units, in a way, they're kind of simple. they're not a lot of advanced care that's offered. in fact, it's sort of a protocol. every patient gets a mix of medicines when they come in to cover things like, you know, a coinfection with something like malaria. sometimes, you know, ebola can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. so people even get antibiotics, even though ebola is a viral disease. so you would think it's sort of simple-- fluids and some of these extra medicines-- but in
fact there are all these choices that have to be made. for example, if you have somebody who tests negative, but then they develop symptoms while they're in the suspect ward, well, then, you know, it's possible that they still will turn positive. so do you keep them there and possibly expose them to other people who have ebola in order to test them again? and, you know, all these difficult choices come up, even with children. that's another example, where, you know, a parent tests negative air, child tests positive. so what do do you in that situation? >> woodruff: you wrote about a mother who died, a pregnant woman who died and had to make a decision about what to do with the infant when it was born. you also wrote about another mother who lost an infant and how she struggled with an infection and her treatment. >> reporter: yes. i think these were two of the more really heartrending
stories. i guess there are stories like that every day. and they really sort of emphasize why the doctors and nurses who i've been chronicling for the last few weeks, they feel a lot of joy when people survive. but they get, over time, they realize that what the world has to offer for people who have ebola just isn't giet qooit there. so even take the pregnant woman. it turns out that ebola is very highly, you know-- it's even more fatal in people who are pregnant, and, you know, just the tragedy of that alone. this particular woman, they didn't know if she had ebola. she hemorrhaged after having spontaneous childbirth eight months into her pregnancy. and she went from hospital to hospital while she was still alive, while she was, you know, struggling to survive, no hospitals would let her in because that's a kind of classic presentation with ebola. and highly infectious,
obviously, if there's blood. so finally, the car with her parents and the lady and her baby make it to the ebola treatment unit, and by that point, she had passed away. but the doctors and nurses had to struggle with this decision of what do we do with this infant? they had no idea. could the infant be positive? there's not a lot of science around that or data or information because we just haven't studied this disease as much as it would have been good to do. so they made the best choice they could. they sent the baby home with the grandparents, and, you know, with gloves, with formula, in the hopes that they could give the child a chance at surviving. the child died three days later, and then two weeks after that, the mother, who had helped deliver her-- the grandmother who had helped deliver her daughter's baby and had cared for the baby ended up coming down with ebola and dying in the clinic. so these are the sort of-- if you stay there long enough, you
see how this disease moves through families that way. and, again, it's those high-risk contacts, the real contact with the body fluids that seems to be the theme over and over again. >> woodruff: just terrible. finally, sheri fink, the last story you wrote, despite all this sthe surprisingly low numbers of patients being treated in these newest hospitals around monrovia where you are. >> reporter: actually, it seems to be a pattern across the country. we have the with w.h.o. say they believe there's been a slow-down in the upsurge in infections. and they sesm size it's not a reason to pull back on any of the plans because there are large swaths of the country that don't have treatment units and that's part of what the u.s. is doing is trying to build and staff these treatment units that are in distant parse of the country where there's not great surveillance. there aren't good options for people who have no access to
cars, no cell phone service, and just-- also just these really bad roads, frankly. so right now, it's hard for them to be safe. you know, you have a family member who is sick. if you have to wait two days to get somebody to get them to a treatment unit, or if they die, to have a safe burial, that's really tough. so what the numbers are suggesting is there is some positive news, that some of these interventions that we've seen so much work on in the last few weeks and months, may be starting to slow this epidemic, which is great news, but certainly not a reason to let up, according to the experts here. >> woodruff: sheri fink reporting from the front lines there in liberia. we thank you. >> thanks a lot. >> ifill: celebrities, athletes and politicians have increasingly gone public about
their sexual orientation. but the corporate closet has mostly remained closed. today, apple's c.e.o., tim cook opened that door a but more, declaring in an essay for bloomberg business week, he is gay. >> while i have never denied my sexuality, i haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. so let me be clear, i'm proud to be gay and i consider being gay among the greatest gifts god has given me. >> ifill: cook becomes the most prominent business leader to come out but what difference will it make? kara swisher, who has long covered the tech industry and is co-executive editor of the tech news website, recode, joins me now. so, kara, in this day and age, why does what tim cook had to say matter? >> well, he is the most prominent executive in tech, and he's running the most valuable company in the world. and so he has a lot of prominence, and this is a big deal for him to come out and say that, and the fact that no fortune 500 executive has done this is a milestone. >> ifill: why now? tell us about tim cook?
>> i don't think there was an occasion. he didn't just decide, like, wake up this morning. he's been out among his friends, as he wrote, but he had never acknowledged it in public, and people have been talking about it in silicon valley a lot. there was a lot of hubbub a couple of months ago when a cnbc exchange discussed it. everybody knows he's gay. he's been moving slowly towards it. he appeared at the gay pride festival in san francisco this year. he made a speech recent about gay and lesbian rights, related to alabama, where here's from. so he's been moving towards it very clearly. and and probably he just woke up and said i'll just acknowledge it and say it and it's not a big deal and me holding back is probably a bigger deal. >> ifill: it doesn't royal the tech community but how about the broader community? >> the iphone is not gay. it's not the product. it's part of his life and really interesting. that essay to me was very
interesting especially because he made the point he was the son of the south, he was a fitness nut-- which he is-- and a whole bunch of things. it's more than just being gay, but this is also part of him, and i think that is what was important to him is acknowledge it and try to help people who may not be quite as brave as he's been today. >> ifill: as we watchthe social evolution, marriage laws, and in the entertainment world, and you name it, the military even, has it changed the way these kinds of announcements resonate? >> i think this is still going to be a big deal. this is a prominent c.e.o. of the most valuable company on the earth. so i think it's going to be one of those moments that's going to be remembered historically. he's going to save lives. one of the issues he talked about is a lot of gay and lesbian youth, they're much more at risk, people that work in certain states are under risk of being fired for being gay. if he gives them a little courage or moves along the conversation, that helps things no matter what and people will be talking about it because of who he is. like when an athlete in the nfl
comes out or a gay senator or someone in hollywood comes out, people talk about it and it moves the conversationed for and that's always a good thing. >> ifill: in 29 states, in fact, people could still be fired for doing what he did today. >> and people could be killed across the world. there are countries where they kill you just for being gay. not talking about gay right, but existing as a gay person. i think this is a much more serious issue. apexpel a lot of tech companies, especially ibm-- people don't realize this-- have been at the forefront of these issues a long, long time and tim has been there a long, long time. steve jobs said our job is to put a dent in the universe-- he was talking about products and thing like that-- but this puts a dent in something that needs to be dented and done with over time. >> ifill: doesn't tim cook have a reputation as kind of the brains behind steve jobs? >> well, steve jobs had a big brain. let's just be clear. there are no brains behind steve jobs. he wasn't the spokesmodel for apple. but tim has been the operations person. he's been the quiet
behind-the-scenes person. a lot of his coming out probably took some time. he's a manave certain age. he's very quiet himself. he doesn't talk a lot about his personal life. he plays things close to the vest in terms of a lot of things and this is probably somewhat discomforting for him because he's such a quiet guy. i heard he was-- he works out every morning at 5:00 a.m. and he was in the gym at 5 haim this morning so he didn't change much of his regular things. he is not someone who would talk a lot about this, so it probably was very hard for him to do soad. >> ifill: on the other hand, being the c.e.o. of apple as you pointed out, such a powerful position, somehow makes it easier, doesn't make it harder to come out. >> it's as youy'ser because he's incredibly wealthy, he has a lot of support, his company, his board supports him, everybody here in silicon valley is happy he has done this. he has support that way. a lot of employees who work in companies that come out, the situation is much more dire for them. i think he was trying to give them some courage. i don't think it's going to go wrong for apple or tim to do
this, but at the same time, he could possibly give courage to people who maybe have a harder time. there are maybe companies to reflect on what they're doing to their employees if they have-- don't have policies in place to protect all play plaes. and again, it's not a gay issue, it's a human rights issue. this iit's good for everybody. a diverse workplace is a better workplace. and apple knows this. lot of companies here in silicon valley know this, and any company that is successful knows this. >> ifill: kara swisher, always a pleasure talk towg, thank you. >> thanks a lot. >> woodruff: there are moments when the power of nature and the elements and the destruction they can cause simply capture everyone's attention and make you wonder about your place in the universe. this week, the lava flow on hawaii's big island that's forced people to abandon homes. and a sunspot the size of planet jupiter are providing such a moment.
hari sreenivasan has a look at the scientific phenomenona behind all this. >> sreenivasan: the national guard itself began trying to help hawaiians today. the lava that began flowing this summer from the volcano on mount kilauea is endangering a small community of about 950 residents. it may be moving slowly, at speeds of just five to ten miles an hour, but there's been no way to stop it. and now it's started to burn homeowners property there. at the same time, a whole different set of fiery images from space may also be in your daily news feed. it's the largest sunspot in more than two decades. federal officials have warned frequently about the possibility that solar flares could potentially disrupt navigation systems and radio frequencies. science correspondent miles o'brien is with us again tonight. miles, let's start with this planet first. when we think of laugh awe think of huge explosions and volcanos like mount st. helens and other places but that's not what we're
talking about here. >> with mount aint helens, the most recent eruption in japan, we had what's called a pyroplastic flow. think of it as a steam-heated hurricane. it can travel at-- in excess of 100 miles per hour, carry bolders with it, and can catch people off guard as we saw most recently in japan. this is the other side of the equation for volcanos, theses --y lava volcanos that have been erupting in sort of slow motion, and they move and fissures crack and lava appears in different places. and what we're seeing here now, of course, is as the lava changes its pattern, the patterns of human settlement have changed as well. there are more people living there. and that's where the collision is right here. >> sreenivasan: what sort of dangers does this lava pose, in terms of the gases coming off of it, or the infrastructure that it threatens if it cuts across roads? >> all kinds of toxic gases associated with volcanos, for
dioxide, many others, which can be hazardous. one thing about laugh a, of course, even though this is kind of a slow-motion train wreck, there's no stopping it. there's no putting up a dam to stop lava. this is after all the molten core of the earth. it's hot and there's no stopping it. so people have got to, unfortunately, respect that, and step away from the lava. you know, we're talking about the center of the ring of fire here in the pacific. and, you know, essentially, the earth sits on 17 giant tectonic plates. that's what we're sitting on right new. we're kind of floating on a sea of magma and wherever there are cracks in plates, you get problems. you get earthquakes and vol cane expose sometimes it's the oozy lava we see in hawaii. >> sreenivasan: we sometimes think we can engineer our way around everything and we have no control over the giant sunspots we have been seeing. there are scientific instruments and people that stare at the sun all day long, 24/7.
what is it about what's been happening over the recent past that have them so concerned? >>, of course, we would advise people not to stare at the sun unless they take precautions, of course, but we're talking about a giant sun spot. equivalent to the 20 earth diameters, which is hard to even comprehend. scientists have been watching is it now for two weeks. it just disappeared. the sun rotate about every 25 days all the way around. so for about two weeks, this giant sun spot is on the backside, if you will. huge solar flares come off of it. we haven't seen the other thing that can occur, which is the so-called coronal mass ejection. a good analogy for this is you think of a cannon shot. the flash is the solar flare. the cannonball itself is the coronal mass ejection. in this case, we're seeing the flash bit no cannonball. in either case we can expect disruptions in communications here on our planet because we
rely more and more on space-based assets -- satellites -- in order to communicate and run our infrastructure. >> sreenivasan: put these explosions in perspective for us. one of the placeiz read, this is like a billion of the nuclear power that we dropped on hiroshima. >> imagine that. it's really hard to comprehend it all. so you can understand why when this energy interacts with the earth's magnetic field, it can cause havoc with the high-frequency communications used by things like the gps system, or for that matter, think of the satellite we're using right now to communicate with each other. if this was in the middle of a serious solar flare or coronal mass ejection, we might very well be turning to snow right now. we're vulnerable because of the nature of our infrastructure. and that's why scientists carefully watch this. there actually is a fairly sophisticated space forecasting capability out there. so the power grids and the satellite operators can, if they have to, go in to safe mode.
incidentally, there are residents on board of international space station, which in some cases might have to take shelter if coronal mass ejection was headed our way. >> sreenivasan: hopefully a coronal mass ejection does not interrupt this segment. thank you very much for joining us. >> ifill: now, a prize-winning play about the impact faraway conflicts have on personal lives. jeffrey brown has our report from our new york studio. >> i'm sitting in nigh office. i'm red lining a contract due at 6:00. steven walks in. >> sreenivasan: when we first meet the player in the space, an up and coming corporate lawyer, expensive apartment on manhattan's upper east side, and beautiful artist wife. he's a pakistani american who has largely turned his back on the religion of his parents, islam. but he's also living in
post-9/11 america and understands and even plays with the realities of that. at a dinner party he explains to friend how he volunteers for security checks at airports. >> i know they're looking at me, so i figure why not make itaries for everyone involved? >> i've never heard of anybody doing that before. >> on top of people being more and more afraid of folks who look like me, we end up being resented, too. >> those agents are working lard not to discriminate, and here's this dwierk he walks right up to them and calls them out on it. >> pure, unmitigated, passive aggression. >> brown: there's plenty of humor in "disgraced" but quite a bit more pain as amir's world and identity comes undone. the writer is 43-year-old ayad akhtar, a milwaukee native who grew up in a secular muslim family. >> i don't expect you or your friends to understand what i'm talking about. >> reporter: he's explored various flashpoints of contemporary life as a novelist, actor, and screenwriter as in the 2005 movie "the war within"
about a pakistani student who after being abducted and interrogated by the c.i.a., attempts an attack on new york. premiering two years another "disgraced" earned akhtar the 2013 pulitzer prize, just before opening night last week on broadway, i asked him what he was after in writing the play. >> there was a character who was speaking to me with this kind of relentless passion, amir, the lead character in the play, who has this very particular point of view on islam. he's muslim, of birth and origin, but has sort of strongly moved away from it is very critical of islam. but he came to understand what the play was trying to get at is the way we secretly continue to hold on to our tribal identities, our identities of birth, of education, despite o our-- despite getting more enlightened. >> brown: there's almost a suggestion that whatever we do, our education, or our jobs or or
marriages, we can't-- we never get past this kind of tribal allegiances. >> i did not seem to be able to pull the play away from that conclusion. i tried top opinion but these characters continued to find meaning and find some kind of safety as the situation, the dramatic situation devolved, in those tribal identities. >> brown: as drama unfolds, amir moves fray sharp critique of islam to admitting feelings of sympathy to a world view he rejected. >> are you telling me you never felt anything like that, unexpected, blush of-- >> no. no. i don't feel anything like a blush. >> when you hear about israel throwing its military weight around? >> i am critical of israel, a lot of jews are. >> and when you hear about auk madin jatalked about wiping israel into the mediterranean, how do you feel did bthat? >> outrage like everyone else. >> not everyone feels outraged.
a lot of folks like hearing that. >> brown: how much of this did reflect your own sense of americanness, islam, being a muslim, sense of identity? >> it's a good question. i think it's one i'm still grappling with and working through in a series of works that "disgraced" is one of. and i think there's a long history of sort of postcolonial muslim self-definition. i would say the last 200 years, where defining ones in opposition to the west or separate from the west has been an important part of what it means to call onesself muslim. i think in the past deckate or so there has been such tremendous political upheaval, there's a way that's been called into question. >> brown: at a personal level? >> at a personal level, at a nation state level. it's been called into question. all the extraordinary conflicts we have seen unfolding in the middle east are part and parcel
of what i'm talking about. so the work that i'm doing, "disgraced" included, is about exploring the various contradictions that arise because of that history and those frailties. >> brown: of being a muslim in america after 9/11? well, in part being muslim. being american. what are the overlaps? what are the contradictions? are those contradictions real? are they historical? are they passed simply from parent to child or is it something much larger? is there an inherent conflict between islam and the west? >> brown: and have you figured this out, or is this what you're doing in the work? >> i think to have an answer would be above my pay grade. i get away with trying to see what the various perspectives yield in terms of human lives, and the solutions that individuals come up with to these questions. >> brown: i wonder just how you see theater as a kind of
provocation, you know? as something that makes us think a lot. this is a kind of provocative piece of writing. >> it is, and i think that at its best, what the theater does is it gathers us together. we, social herding animals, arrive together into a room and behold something that actually happens before us, not something mediated to us by a screen, but the presence of live performers which harkens back to a kind of experience of a ritual, and an experience of one mind, one body, kind of communion that happens in the audience between audience and performers that allows us, reaches into us, where we can experience things more deeply than we can individually. >> brown: even if it's provoking questions of real identity-- am i a muslim? am i a jew? am i an american? who am i? >> those sound like some pretty good questions for our time. so i don't mind doing that. >> brown: the play is "disgraced." ayad akhtar, thank you so much. >> thank you, jeffrey.
>> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. secretary of state kerry said, he is very concerned about new clashes in jerusalem and he appealed for restraint. street battles broke out after a gunman wounded a jewish activist and police killed a palestinian suspect. and the u.s. economy turned in another solid showing in the second quarter, growing at an annual rate of 3.5%. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, meet a pastor who's feeding the homeless, and bridging communities in st. paul, minnesota. you can watch her story from our partners at religion and ethics weekly on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on friday, an insiders look at how one u.s. hospital is preparing for possible ebola admissions. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we continue our 2014 election
coverage with mark shields and david brooks tomorrow night. with live programming all night election night, both online and on air, and with a special results broadcast at 11:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch our special pbs newshour election edition on most of these pbs stations. check your local listings. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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